I judged a few schooling shows at the Quantico Marine Base stables when I first arrived in Virginia. While there I chatted with a few of the faithful Marine husbands, at the show to support their wives. I forget how we got on the subject, but one told me that there’s a saying that goes around Marine basic training: “Embrace the suck.” It’s boot camp, preparing you for life as an elite warrior—it’s going to suck. And the sooner you accept that it’s going to suck, the easier things get.

It resonated with me, not just because the idea of that many push-ups makes me blanch, but because the training of young horses up the levels is a little bit the same way. The end result is a glorious thing to behold. But in the training part, there are days that it really, really sucks.

Read the rest at The Chronicle of the Horse!